Self-driving cars have already been projected to be far safer than human drivers, but shifting the figure from number of lives saved from traffic fatalities into dollars and cents shows a savings of about 90% of the money that would normally have to be paid out for traffic crashes, or just over $300 billion. According to data gathered by Global Positioning Specialists, the United States currently loses the most money each year on car crashes out of any country in the world. The current amount spent on crashes each year on average, being about $340 billion, represents about 1.90% of the total gross domestic product for the country.
This research is aimed at proving that there is an economic reason to invest in driverless technology, and to push laws through that would allow it to flourish. According to Global Positioning Specialists, most world governments would not directly invest in getting self-driving cars onto their roads without concrete evidence that the investment would pay dividends not just in public safety, but in cold, hard cash. These numbers, unlike research on how many road fatalities could be spared, factors in crashes of all sorts, major and minor, that autonomous automobiles could conceivably prevent. The data used to compile these figures comes from multiple sources, including the WHO Global Report on Road Safety 2015, World DataBank's Gross Domestic Product 2015 report, and a report by McKinsey & Company entitled "How Autonomous Cars Could Redefine The Automotive World 2016".
The data at hand shows a number of interesting trends, alongside the worldwide projected impact of self-driving cars on the gross domestic product of a number of countries. One interesting data point is that the country with the highest percentage of gross domestic product loss due to crashes, being South Africa with a whopping 7.80%, actually has a gross domestic product smaller than the amount that the United States loses on crashes. South Africa's current total loss amounts to less than what the United States' projected loss could be with the addition of self-driving cars, while their own possible savings would bring traffic crash losses down below $3 billion. The economic implications here are quite obvious, of course; the world over, wide implementation of self-driving cars could save huge amounts of countries' gross domestic product for other things that would otherwise go to crash costs, including things like repairs, legal fees, and funeral costs.